December 31, 2013
Social Security announced earlier this month that it is now processing some widow and widower claims, including Medicare claims, for those married to a spouse of the same sex. The new guidance applies to surviving spouses if the worker was domiciled in a state that recognizes marriage equality and the marriage took place in the U.S. Similarly, Social Security is now processing claims for lump sum death benefits if the deceased worker was domiciled in a state that recognizes marriage equality.
If a marriage was entered into in a foreign country, Social Security may process the claim but only after getting a legal opinion on the validity of the marriage.
Social Security is continuing to hold several claims, including applications where:
• The deceased worker was domiciled in a non-marriage recognition state; or
• The marriage does not meet the duration requirement and the claimant alleges a prior non-marital legal same-sex relationship such as a civil union.
Anyone who was or is married to a spouse of the same sex and thinks they may be eligible for Social Security, should apply immediately to preserve their rights to benefits.
The Social Security Administration’s press releases are here:
• Same-Sex Marriage – Benefits for Surviving Spouses
• Same-Sex Marriage – Lump Sum Death Payment (LSDP)
Social Security also maintains a Frequently Asked Questions section on its website.
For information about other federal benefits for married same-sex couples, visit www.glad.org/doma